tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 11, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PST
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com two big breaking news stories tonight. the president's farewell speech to the people, and the report on the president-elect. president obama makes his final emotional speech to the nation with ten days to go in his presidency and returns to his favorite call to action. >> yes we can. yes we did, yes we can.
thank you, god bless you. may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> that coming in the wake of our bombshell cnn exclusive. classified bo classified documents presented to donald trump including that russian operatives have compromised information related to him. let's get straight to cnn's carl bernstein and jim sciutto, cnn chief national security correspondent. jim, you have some exclusive reporting for us on the nation's top intelligence officials briefing the president-elect and the current president last week about claims russian efforts tried to compromise the president-elect. >> let's walk you through what we know and how we know t
multiple u.s. officials with direct knowledge of these briefings tell cnn that classified documents on russian interference in the 2016 election, presented to president obama and president-elect trump included allegations that russian on tperatives claim to e compromising information about mr. trump, based on memos by a former british intelligence operative, whose past work u.s. intelligence agencies consider to be credible. the fbi is now investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations which are based primarily on information from russian sources, but the fbi has not confirmed any essential details in these memos about mr. trump. they were presented by four of the senior-most u.s. intelligence chiefs, director of national intelligence james clapper, the fbi director james comey, john brenner, nsa director mike rogers. this two-page synopsis also
included allegations, this key as well, that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between trump surrogates and intermediaries for the russian government. this according to two national security officials. it was included in that synopsis presented to mr. trump. i should note the transition team has declined to comment, although donald trump himself tweeted out what we presume to be his response to this, claiming this is fake news, in his words a political witch hunt. >> fake news now becoming a talking point. this is kellyanne conway. she was on with seth meyers tonight. and she was asked about your reporting. >> guess what hasn't happened, seth. nobody has sourced it. they're all unnamed, unspoken sources, and it says it was based on a russian investigator
to begin with. >> based on an mi-6 british investigator. >> and it also may have originated with a russian investigator. it also says that hillary clinton and groups that wanted hillary clinton to win may have been behind the investigations themselves, and most importantly, it says that the fbi is trying to confirm it. so nothing's been confirmed, and i have to say as an american citizen regardless of your party or if you don't like politics at all, which there are many americans, we should be concerned that intelligence officials leaked to the press and won't go and tell the president-elect or the president of the united states himself now, mr. obama, what the information is, they would rather tell the press. >> but the press report was about them going to the president. >> and it says that they never briefed him on it, that they appended two pages to the bottom of his intelligence. >> i believe it said they did brief him on it. >> he has said he is not aware of that. >> this synopsis was included in
the documents presented to donald trump, but you can't confirm if it was specifically discussed. >> let's be clear. when you have an intelligence briefing or in circumstances like this, the briefing includes both written documents and then spoken conversation, right, we know that this was part of the written documents, and that sh part of the briefing, and let's be clear. intelligence agencies don't include garbage in those briefings. there's a minimum amount of time, limited amount of time for the people you're speaking to and for the senior intelligence officials doing the briefing, so they put in what they believe is j germane to the conversation and necessary. let's be clear, some of the other things she said were not factually correct. she says there were no named sources. we know the name of the british intelligence agent. we did not use his name for privacy. we spoke with carl bernstein, jake tapper, myself, we spoke to
more than a dozen high-ranking officials with direct knowledge of these briefings. they were not named because of the classified nature of the intelligence they were talking about. but this is not coming from the ether. >> let's say they didn't discuss it, benefit of the doubt. shouldn't you read the entire report? >> well, for sure. that's what a briefing is about. you know, when the president gets his daily briefing every day on threats to the country, he gets a document, president obama, in fact, got it on his ipad, but you get a document, whether electronic or in print, and you have a conversation, which is typically for follow-up questions, greater detail on the issues contained in the written report. so i mean, the written briefing materials are an essential part of that briefing. >> carl, i don't know if you or jim can better answer this question. why did intelligence officials
share these allegations that russian claims, why did they share them with the president-elect? >> because of their belief and the outgoing president as well as the president-elect, their belief that these allegations are serious enough to warrant real and thorough investigation. there's enough detail that they've seen that they think investigations need to go forward. and there's some real concern, i think, in the intelligence community, during the changeover of administrations that perhaps some of the new incoming national security officials might want to sweep this stuff under the rug, that they might not want to pursue a real and thursday/investigati thorough investigation. it makes a marker that this has been laid down. it will not go away. there is leadership on capitol hill, republicans and democrats are prepared to have hearings on some of this. this is going to be an event
that goes on until some truth is found out about the validity of what's in those memos. >> so why would, if we could put, jim referenced the tweet from donald trump. why would he tweet out fake news when you have james comey, james clapper, mike rogers >> why would he tweet anything? he's been very effective at his tweets, and kellyanne has been very effective as a propaganda minister. let's talk about what's real. what is real here is serious concern by the top-most officials in our intelligence community, the top four, that they have seen information that leads them to believe there is enough there to warrant thorough, serious investigation of an incoming president. that hasn't happened before. >> i stepped on you. what did you say when i asked you, you said it was propaganda. what did you say? >> i said kellyanne is a propaganda minister.
i don't think we need to take too seriously what she said in that bit of disinformation there, look, what we need to do as reporters here is report what has occurred. let's see where the investigations go, siee whether the allegations are credible or not, and we'll learn over the next months or year the truth of this matter. >> cnn isn't reporting the details right now, why is that? >> well, fact is, we've had this memo as well. and the reason we aren't reporting them is some of them are very salacious. but they're unconfirmed. and cnn hasn't been able to independently confirm them. and we know the fbi and the intelligence agencies while they are confirming th-- investigati them have not confirmed them either many o either. our focus was on these facts,
that they took this information in briefings to the president-elect, and the president. two people with a finite amount of time. and this operative has given credible information in the past. and three, that democratic and republican lawmakers, senators are taking a hard look at this as well. if you happen to watch the sessions confirmation hearing today, before our story came out, because a lot of the information contained in this is classified, senators asking not too veiled questions that seem to be referring to this information, saying are you investigating donald trump communications with russia, et cetera. james comey refused to comment in public session, but those senators, there's a reason they're asking these questions, because they've seen these documents as well, and they take them seriously. >> i got to go. thank you gentlemen, appreciate.
there is a lot of opposition to jeff sessions as attorney general, the vast majority of it due to concerns about sessions' record on race. you heard our jim sciutto refer to his hearings today and people asking veiled questions in regard to some of this, how did he try to address that today? >> it's been really interesting, and first to address what everybody's talking about right now. jim made the point. the issue of russia came up repeatedly over the course of this hearing. we've seen trump officials tweeting about this story. here's what, if you want the response, if you want to hear what the trump transition is going to say, all you have to do is tune in tomorrow, 11:00 a.m., the president-elect is still, as it stands right now, planning to hold that press conference to address this head on. and i've talked to reporters in the room, this will be question
one, two, three, on down the line. we are seeing his cabinet nominees get asked about it. the president-elect will certainly get asked about it as well. you hit on a key point. this is a hearing that went 10 and a half hours, the first in a prime time hearing of the trump cabinet nominees. race has been a huge issue. so much so that sessions had a judgeship sunk in 1986 because of concerns about race. jeff sessions was willing to take that head on. take a listen. >> i was accused in 1986 of failing to protect the voting rights of african-americans by presenting the perry county case, the voter fraud case and of condemning civil rightis and harboring sympathies for the kkk these are false charges. >> what's interesting about that, that wasn't actually in his prepared remarks.
he decided to add that to his remarks for the day towards the start of the hearing, recognizing that this has become such a huge issue around this nomination. now is this going to sink the nomination? no, probably more importantly, was what jeff sessions said enough to assuage the concerns on the human rights side of things? absolutely not. but it has been a real problem up to this point. >> sorry for sneezing in your ear. thank you very much. when we come back, as president-elect trump prepares to take office in ten days, president obama makes an emotional farewell speech to america. so we sent that sample i doff to ancestry. i was from ethnically. my ancestry dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry.
jones, presidential historian, mr. douglas brinkley, and in this corner, david gregory. adviser for presidents nixon, ford, reagan and clinton. david gergen. why do i do that? i want to ask you about the president's speech tonight. how much impact do you think it had? >> i think it had more impact than we may realize. not upon the history books. i don't think it will go down in the books as another george washington or dwight eisenhower farewell address, but what i do think is the president is trying very hard to rekindle the idealism and enthusiasm of politics for the younger sdwr generation. i thought that was an important legacy. he came in, he was swept into office by the votes of so many young people. they've been disappointed by the election results in many, many cases, they're discouraged about
politics, and i think it was affecting the near term. i think with his new library, he has said he wants to be training the social change agents of the future. and that's a very worthy goal for him. >> douglas, how did this compare to previous farewell speeches? >> there's never been anything like this. i mean, this was a rock and roll concert. everything was choreographed and packaged. you had eddie vedder, and drums beating. so it was a big success. i think if he had just read this off a teleprompter from the white house, it wouldn't have been memorable. i agree with what david said of appealing to young people. but the biggest applause was when he denounced the idea of a muslim registry, and that's an issue that cory booker and the u.s. senate's going to be seizing on and might be able to
get bipartisan support. so there was an opening with that and the love story of michelle and barack obama. their photos were all over the hall. we forget how photogenic the first family was. there are a lot of teary-eyed people here. a combination of good-bye and love fest. >> i was looking at him going who was that young man when they were showing the pictures of 2008. he's still young, but my gosh, when you're the leader of the free world, that weighs on you, so van jones, let's talk. look at that, look tachl at tha. he aged. he's a little gray, he still looks good. he talked about reaching out, which you had been covering in your, this show that you've been doing, "messy truth." listen to the sound bite and then we'll talk. >> if our democracy is to work the way it should in this
increasingly diverse nation then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in american fiction, atticus finch who said you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. from blacks and other minority groups, that means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face. not only the refugee or the immigrant or the rural poor or the transgender american, but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he's got advantages, but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change. we have to pay attention and listen. [ applause ]
>> what did you see? >> well, i agree. it's a little ironic, because i don't know if that position landed this past election season the way that it should have. in some ways there's a little bit of a confession there from obama but not in those terms, that the democrats did not do a good job of that, and i thought it was important that he said it. >> but you had been talking, and listen, how long have we been working together on cnn, even before you started working for cnn, we would have discussions on some of these things you've been saying for a long time, especially about the democratic party and i as well, but you more so, in a bubble. people live in a bubble. they live on the coast. they don't have much interaction with people in the middle of the country. why didn't that message come faster, sooner, eight years, five years ago, six years ago, three years ago? >> you know, i think that there
was something happening where there were two things with obama early on that was the beauty of the poetry, and then this data operation. and the two came together to pull off this impossible thing. but over time, it became, you know, the data over the people, the donors over the voters, the pollsters over the people. and at a certain point, democratic party started feeling kind of, i don't know, phony. but what i want to make sure, tonight what i saw wasn't just looking into obama's face. it was all those people who were there, and you know what? i know all those people. and those are people whose hands almost got frostbitten in iowa, eight and a half years ago. young adults who became full adults the last eight years, and guess what, now they feel lost. >> i was in chicago back in, interviewing one of the first people in 2006. before he ran for president. and i remember being in chicago
with david axelrod when barack obama was sort of coming into prominence, and he gave that speech in 2004 and people were like, there's your guy on tv and i'm like who are you talking about, the senator from -- do we have that 2004 interview? 2006 interview? all right, it's going to take them a second to get it and then we'll discuss. when we get it, the difference between the man we saw tonight and the man back then and whether you think, as he lived up to the hope and change. >> what i will say is that tomorrow we are doing this "messy truth" thing tomorrow at 9:00 again, getting people together, folks, voters from detroit and this kind of crazy stuff. what i think we're discovering is that that hope that people had in obama, it's still there, but it's been eroded. >> okay. i want everybody to listen to this. i want david and douglas to listen to it as well. this was trick2006, i think it november, i'm not sure. >> do you think at this point in
our country, this point in time, that a person of color stands a chance to be the president of the united states? >> absolutely. i think the american people at their core are a decent people. i think that we still have prejudice in our midst. but i think that the vast majority of americans are willing to judge people on the basis of, you know, their ideas and their character. and in the case of the presidency, i think what's most important is whether the american people think that you understand their hopes and dreams and struggles and whether they think that you can actually help them achieve those hopes and dreams. >> i had a lot more hair then. i'd only been at cnn for about two months there, but listen, david gergen, he never wavered in believing in the american people and the goodness of the american people. >> he has never wavered on that. i think he's been very
disappointed by our politics and the discouragement that that has sent out across the country. that was very clear. i mean, his clear warning tonight was that democracy itself is now threatened. and if that goes our economy goes, everything else, our sense of nation leaves us as well. and he's deeply worried about that, but, you know, you can't help but feel that barack obama came in hoping to take us to a new place. you know, franklin roosevelt said a long time ago that first, the most important role of a president is moral leadership. and by that, he meant helping us gain higher ground. and i think obama really wanted to do that. i think that's what he represents, and i think he feels we haven't gotten there. >> i'd like to talk more, but unfortunately i have to go everyone, time constraints. "the mesy truth" tomorrow at 9:00 eastern with van jones.
what is it, the eagle? >> the black eagle. >> every morning. so thank you all for joining us. i'm going to go to you, joshua first. you have known this family for many years. what did you think of president obama's farewell address? >> i thought it was phenomenal. i thought i took it back to the black church a little bit. you know, pastors tend to build big sermons around three points. and the president did the same thing tonight. he laid out the three big threats to our country right now. he said it's economic anxiety, racism and the threats to our democracy, a crumbling democracy and is really warning the country that if we don't do something about this we have a tough four years ahead of us. so i thought it was an amazing speech. >> you watched from the family section, the friends and family section, what was that like? >> it was electric. there were a lot of policy points, a lot of political points but then when he started
talking about his wife, man, it was almost as if the crowd rose up. because we saw the president tearing up, choking up a little bit, and folks rose to greet him, to give him strength to get through that part of the speech. and when he called out joe biden and folks just sort of roared there support for the vice president. really a, almost a family experience in the crowd tonight. >> people on social media were wondering, where is sasha, but i think she was at school. so that's very important. so she wasn't there. >> got to make sure she graduates on time, man. >> vacari, the president was undoubtedly very proud of his daughters. let's listen. >> with grace and with grit and with style. you have become two amazing young women. you are smart, and you are beautiful. but more importantly, you are kind, and you are thoughtful, and you are full of passion.
and you bother tyou bore the bus in the spotlight so easily. of all i have done in my life, i am most proud to be your dad. >> what do you make of the relationship between the president and his daughters? >> well, i think it's oftentimes not talked about enough. one of the most amazing things about barack obama is that he is an amazing father, an amazing husband. this has been a scandal-free presidency for almost eight years. but the way he looks at his wife and daughters with such admiration and such love, then tire building felt that, the entire country felt that. i think everyone was in tears when he went through those moments talking about his wife
and his children. we're going to miss barack obama. you can disagree with him politically, but you have to understand he is a very, very good man at his core. >> this is him talking about his wife as first lady. >> for the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. [cheers and applause] you took on a role you didn't ask for. and you made it your own. with grace and with grit and with style and good humor. [cheers and applause]
you made the white house a place that belongs to everybody. and a new generation sets its sights higher, because it has you as a role model. so you have made me proud, and you have made the country proud. >> so, joe, besides, it takes a real man to cry when he's talking about his wife and his kids. i loved seeing that. characterize that moment as michelle obama as the first lady. >> i sat at home and i cried. and i cried because you're looking at a man who on martin luther king's birthday will have been married to a woman who's similar for 40 years, and i think that what appreciate most about it is the fact that he accentuated the positive of our community, the love and the
relationship that we don't see too often in modern culture. too often the negative is accentuated when it comes to our community and not the loving relationships that many of us probably on this panel have with our wives, and i must tell you, very honestly, i shedded a tear, because i thought of what my wife has meant to me over these 40 years, and i imagine that many of us have thought about the same thing with either our wives or our significant others. and he's absolutely right. who ever said it is right, we're going to miss this. we're going to miss this relationship. he gave a whole new look at what the black family really is all about. but i do want to add one other thing about this speech. and that was he challenged the younger generation to do something, to get involved.
that if you don't like what your elected officials are doing then you get some petitions, and you run for office. and he also talked about getting involved on the local level. the precinct level, redistricting. that's what caught my attention also. >> the president spoke about race relations improving. let's listen. >> now i've lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, no matter what some folks say. you can see it not just in statistics, you see it in the attitudes of young americans across the political spectrum. but we're not where we need to be. and all of us have more work to do. >> so before you answer, let me read this. in 2015, the keiser family foundation released a poll that
people see his presidency as having hurt race relations. it found that almost two-thirds of americans say racial tensions have increased in america in the last ten years, much higher than the 29% who said so in 2001, and the 47% who felt that way in 195. where do you believe we stand on race relations as a country? >> you know, don, first of all, thank you for having me on the show. i think it is important to remember that he's still the president of the united states, president obama, and so i think that what you saw tonight was him trying to remind us of that hopeful optimism that he came when he first came into the presidency. but the reality don't match the rhetoric in terms, of my opinion, in terms of race relations. i think that things have got and lot worse, and i think things are pretty bad. but despite all that, we are a country looking forward, a country that's going to have a peaceful transfer of power, and
i hope this next president and the congress will do things to uplift communities of color and do things in a positive nature so we can tone down the rhetoric and be mindful that words do matter and some things we say on both sides of the aisle can be hurtful. but at the end of the day, this country is a great country, and if given the opportunity we can rise above some of the partisan and racial differences that we see and have seen over the past ten years. >> them some good words. let's hope they do that. we haven't seen that so far. thank you, everyone. i appreciate it. >> onwonand you won't with this president. >> don't start. up next, jeff sessions gets a grilling on capitol hill from his closest senate colleagues.
i know, and jennifer grant home is with us. i remember being in the air with him on air force one. it's not a the big one, but his first air force one trip. and we were talking and by surprise, he was on air force one landing in d.c., and it was his first trip. >> this is a book end for you. we are making don lemon history right here. >> this is history, the first black president on air force one. but any way, i digress. we're going to talk about jeff sessions. john avalon, sorry, i couldn't make your book launch last night. i am sick, and i could not come. i apologize. and andre bauer and jennifer grant
hom is with us. >> we learned that if you are going to be confirmed for something, it is a really good thing to be a senator, because i think it was a lot gentler of a hearing than what if might have otherwise been, because he's got all these colleagues. what will be very interesting is the historic presence of cory booker to do actual testimony, which is courageous when you consider the collegiality of the senate. we also learned that the democrats are using this as a way of conscripting, i think, him, in his role as attorney general. so dianne feinstein, for example, asking him whether he would release funds to help women who have been victims of sex trafficking, even if it meant that their health care included abortions, he agrees that that's the law of the land and he would do it.
>> andre bauer to you, sessions said he would follow the law even on issues he may disagree with. he would enforce voting rights laws, abortion laws and he had this exchange with senator patrick leahy. >> and in 2010 you stated extending hate crime protections to lgbt individuals was unwarranted, possibly unconstitutional. do you still feel that way? >> mr. chairman, the law has been passed, the congress has spoken. you can be sure i will enforce it. >> andre, will attorney general sessions be more moderate than senator sessions? >> i believe he will. look, public vetting is a healthy part of our process. the democrats are using this as an eye to fund raising. it helps them with their folks to continue to say we have to continue to work on this. but he's going to get confirmed. he's a good man, he's done a
good job. he will be an asset to donald trump. and you can see today with kid gloves he was treated. they know he is going to get confirmed and he is going to be the attorney general. >> with the exception of al franken who i think did go really hard at him. >> he made a point of if there is a difference between law and politics, he's going to go with the law. jeff sessions somehow, is he someone who will stand up to donald trump? >> well, they certainly have walked in lock step from early on in the campaign. jeff sessions was the first senator and for a long time the only significant elected official backing donald trump. it's one thing in the context of these hearings.
to say look, i'm going to follow the letter of the law. what i said back then was politics. my job is to enforce the law. what we're seeing is the most feared words of the confirmation hearings coming forward is when senators quote donald trump at his best or worst moments and saying do you back that, do you support that? and there are going to be times when that's teed up for conflict, and it's a job of a good attorney general to stand on the side of the law. >> and when these things happen, your past comes back to haunt you or lift you up. that was the case with jeff sessions today, we'll discuss that when we come back to geico. i should take a closer look at geico... you know, geico can help you save money on your homeowners insurance too? great! geico can help insure our mountain chalet! how long have we been sawing this log? um, one hundred and fourteen years. man i thought my arm would be a lot more jacked by now. i'm not even sure this is real wood. there's no butter in this churn. do my tris look okay?
and off condemning organizations and harboring, amazingly, sympathies for the kkk. these are false charges. >> governor granholm. throughout the day he repeatedly say how painful it was, these racism charges. was he sincere? >> well, i mean, words and actions, right? so if you vote against re-upping the voting rights act, when this is such an important issue, your actions speak louder than your words. when you vote against the violence against women act as it currently is, your action speak louder than your words. when you vote against the matthew shepherd hate crimes act which protects lgbt people from hate crimes, when you vote against it, your actions speak louder than your words. when you are attorney general, you're supposed to be about justice for all.
it gets back to the president's speech. it's about all of us, the great word, all. when people feel marginalized, they don't feel like justice is theres. >> andre, do you think they laid a philosop a glove on sessions? >> i think he'll be confirmed. i think they were a little lighter than i expected. but there is a decorum in the senate and he will get confirmed at the end of the day. he's taken a few shots here unfather u unfairly. overall, the guy's had probably thousands of votes, and this is the best they can come up with, there may have been other things in the bill he was voting on at the time so i'm not quite sure that's fair. >> those are pretty important issues. go ahead, john. >> no, you know, one of the problems in our politics is that when people are up for a
position like this they try to emphasize how moderate they are, but that's in contrast with the base impulse that leads people to cast votes that often play to the extremes, that don't represent moderation. so this is a sign of schizophrenia in our politics. if you're going to be trusted with power you have to show. he's been dogged by the allegations of racism. it was noted that arlen specter deeply regretted that vote. because he did not find that was consistent with the man he knew in the senate. but if he is going to governor as a.g. he needs to bend over backwards to show that he will be more moderate, more inclusive than some of his votes or accusations in his past have indicated he might be. >> new jersey senator cory booker is going to testify against him. it will be the first time that a sitting senator testifies against another sitting senator in a confirmation hearing.
as we leave you, we're going to look, this is the first family, president obama, last scheduled trip on air force one as he ascends those steps and boards the plane with his daughter. you see malia in tow. his wife with him as well. sasha, we're told, at school. she has a paper due tomorrow. but, again, and there is the grandmother, michelle obama's mother, and michelle obama getting on the plane as well, and the press of course following them. end of an era, everyone. that's it for us tonight, thank you so much for watching, i'll see you right back here tomorrow. for partners in health, time is life. we have 18,000 people around the world. the microsoft cloud helps our entire staff stay connected and work together in real time to help those that need it. the ability to collaborate
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♪ developing overnight -- classified documents presented to president-elect donald trump with allegations that operatives of russia claim to have compromising information about him, the president-elect, both personal and financial. we have exclusive details. all of this ahead on a very big day for donald trump. perhaps the biggest day yet. he's getting ready for his first news conference in six months. and his secretary of state nominee and attorney genal